Reckless Driving By Speed in Norfolk

When someone is charged with reckless driving by speed in Norfolk, this usually means they were either driving 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, or driving over 80 miles per hour.  In Virginia, this type of reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means it is a criminal offense. For this reason, it is important those charged consult with a Norfolk reckless driving lawyer in order to mitigate the damage as much as possible and build a strong defense. 

Legal Excuses

There are not very many strong legal excuses for driving at such speeds. An emergency situation is a very persuasive excuse, but it tends to be rare. In some cases, there are mitigating factors that do not provide excuses for the speeding itself, but can be persuasive in arguments as to why a defendant should not be punished.
For example, if somebody has a clean record, then oftentimes this is good evidence that demonstrates to the judge that this is a onetime incidence and is unlikely to happen again. Likewise, if the defendant has taken a driver improvement class, or has presented a speedometer calibration showing that the speedometer was inaccurate, the judge will be more inclined to have the charge reduced to a lesser offense such as speeding or improper driving.

Reckless Driving by Speed versus a Speeding Ticket

Reckless driving by speed is different from a speeding ticket because it is a different level of charge. A speeding ticket is a traffic infraction, meaning that in a few years, the conviction will completely disappear off of a person’s driving record. In contrast, reckless driving by speed is a criminal charge, which means that someone convicted has a permanent criminal record, which will follow them for the rest of their lives. Another difference is that speeding tickets are only punishable by a fine and a license suspension, whereas reckless driving by speed is punishable by the same, as well as jail time.

How to Tell the Difference

When an officer gives you a document to sign, it will either be a ticket or a summons. For speeding, it is a ticket which will show you that you have been charged with speeding, and then it will give you instructions on how to pay the fine. It will also give you the option of not appearing in court.

For reckless driving, however, you are issued a summons, which is a document that is basically a substitution for a traditional arrest. When you sign a summons, you are signing that you agree that you will appear in court to answer to the charge. It will say specifically on the document whether you have been charged with speeding or reckless driving, and it will also specify whether it is mandatory for you to appear in court.

Building a Defense

An attorney can help you analyze the facts of your case to determine whether there is any type of defense available through your facts. If there is no defense available through your facts, then your attorney can help you have the best possible outcome by preparing outside of court in order to mitigate the damages.

In some cases, this is in the form of getting your speedometer calibrated or taking a driver improvement class. In other, more serious cases, community service or volunteer work could be what your lawyer suggests. It is very important to have an attorney because different cases are going to benefit from different prep work.

Reasons to Hire a Lawyer

It is important to hire a lawyer for this kind of offense because there is very serious long term and short term consequences that can come from a conviction of reckless driving by speed. In Norfolk, this is considered a class 1 misdemeanor, which is a criminal conviction, meaning that someone charged is facing up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

There are a lot of possible defenses for this charge, so it would be in someone’s best interest for them to have the assistance of an attorney rather than dismissing it as no big deal.